U.S. official: Logistical headaches ahead in Rio

Eddie Pells
Associated Press

Eugene, Ore. — The leader of USA Track and Field says his visits to Brazil have made clear “logistics will be a problem” for the more than 120 Americans who will compete at Olympic Stadium in Rio next month.

During a news conference Tuesday, USATF CEO Max Siegel called moving athletes across town from their living quarters and training centers to the stadium is one of the federation’s biggest concerns and something it doesn’t have full control over.

He said USATF officials are coordinating with the U.S. Olympic Committee to come up with contingencies for bad traffic and other transport issues.

Aretha Thurmond, a four-time Olympian who now serves as director of international teams for USATF, said staff will be in place by late July to start making test trips across the city.

The Olympic track meet starts Aug. 12.

Italy, Latvia advance

Italy and Latvia claimed their second straight victories to advance to the semifinals as group winners in their respective qualifying tournaments for men’s basketball at the Rio Olympics.

In Turin, Italy defeated Croatia, 67-60, in Group B. Marco Belinelli led Italy with 19 points while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 for the 1992 silver medalists.

Croatia still can reach the semifinals with a win in its final group game against Tunisia.

In Group A, Francisco Cruz scored 12 in the final quarter to help Mexico beat Iran, 75-70.

Despite a game-high 20 points by Behram Yakchali, Iran had its second straight defeat and was eliminated from the competition.

Mexico and Greece have secured their semifinal spots before playing each other today.

France rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat host Philippines, 93-84, and Canada defeated Turkey, 77-69, on the opening day of one of the final qualifying tournaments for the Games.

Nando De Colo scored 11 in the third quarter and 27 overall to help France overcome a strong start by Philippines. New Zealand is the third team in Group B.

In Group A, NBA point guard Cory Joseph led Canada with 21 points, while Turkey’s Sinan Guler scored 14. Canada can secure a semifinal spot by beating Senegal today.

Other six-nation qualifying tournaments started in Italy and Serbia on Monday. The winners of the three events will be added to the 12-team draw in Rio.

Just in case

Russia named 68 athletes it wants to send to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro if its global ban from track and field is lifted.

The list approved by the suspended All-Russia Athletic Federation appears to contradict an earlier promise not to send any athletes who have previously been banned for doping offenses.

Former world indoor champion triple jumper Yekaterina Koneva makes the list even though she served a ban from 2007-09. Other notable athletes with past doping offenses have been left out.

Zika study

Researchers will study some U.S. athletes for Zika during the Olympics and Paralympics to understand how the virus infects.

National Institutes of Health officials announced the study, amid concern among athletes over the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause birth defects.

International health officials have said pregnant women should skip the games, but the virus also sometimes spreads through sex and may persist in semen longer than blood.

Some athletes from several countries have dropped out, citing Zika worries.

NIH-funded researchers aim to enroll at least 1,000 athletes, coaches and staff.

Official bug repellent

Officials for consumer products maker SC Johnson say their OFF! brand has been named the official insect repellent supplier for next month’s Games.

Brazil has been the hardest hit of the 60 countries that have reported an outbreak of Zika.